In the blink of an eye, the leaves fell, and temperature dropped. Perhaps it was hard to notice the drastic change of season against the whirlwind of activity on campus over the past three weeks. My Listening Tour is in full swing, and I have enjoyed meeting with academic departments and administrative units to hear them share their perspectives and voices.
Judith and I have enjoyed a variety of sporting events and performances on campus and in the community. One of my favorite events, Glorious Sounds of the Season, will kick off the holiday season on December 3 and 4 at the Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center.
I am also looking forward to the commencement ceremony on December 11 at 2 p.m. at the Pucillo Gym. This ceremony reflects the success of our students after studying hard during their time on campus. I invite our faculty to participate in the ceremony as a final show of support, just like they provided for our students during their college experience. Our students always appreciate their presence.
In this edition of my monthly newsletter, you can read more about some of our top priorities, like providing access to a Millersville education and creating a sense of community and belonging. I am pleased to highlight a new First Generation Student Scholarship supported by Milly Keefer ’66 and celebrate a recent accolade as a Military Friendly institution. November is Native American Heritage Month, and I am pleased to share more about Millersville University’s Land Acknowledgment statement. Finally, I’ll introduce a new pilot program in collaboration with Apple to enhance the use of iPads in the classroom and share additional details about our upcoming December commencement ceremony.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday Break with family and friends. We look forward to seeing you back on campus for the final weeks of the semester.
Keeping costs affordable for our students is one of my top priorities. First-generation students starting at Millersville will soon be able to apply for a scholarship designed just for them, thanks to Milly Keefer.
Ms. Keefer recently discovered, at age 77, that she is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation American. Her daughter bought her a DNA kit last Christmas, and the results showed that her father moved to the U.S. at age 4. That was news to the family. Milly’s father had to drop out of school around age 15 to help support the family. From there, he married, had four children, including Milly, and sent all four to college.
Milly graduated from Millersville in 1966 and is a retired educator. When it came time to give back to her alma mater, she wanted to help first-gen students. “I appreciated my education at Millersville, and I want to try and do something to help the next generation of students. Even though my father had a limited education, he thought it was important.”
The new Keefer endowed scholarship is awarded to a first-year student who is a first-generation college student with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0, with a preference for a student majoring in education. In addition to the scholarship, David and Milly Keefer have also put Millersville University in their will.
Milly says her favorite memory of Millersville was the friendships she made. “I’m still in contact with six other students. We’ve met almost every year since 1966. We travel together and are lifelong friends.”
Serving first generation college students is an important part of our Millersville story. We recently celebrated First Gen Week during the week of November 7-11 with a variety of student activities and programs. I am also proud to report that Millersville is home to an active chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for first generation college students.
MU Named 2022 -2023 Military Friendly School
We celebrated Veterans Day earlier this month, and I'm pleased to announce that Millersville University has been awarded the Silver classification for being Military Friendly. MU had received this title from Victory Media for 11 years in a row!
Millersville University supports military students in several ways. Admission is offered to students involved in the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. A degree in military science is also offered in a two-part, four-year program. The Veterans Resource Center is located at the Mercer House and is available for all student veterans searching for support, a place to relax or a sense of community.
The Military Friendly classification is a way to measure an organization's commitment to benefiting the military community. The program ensures organizations are investing in programs that benefit the veterans' lives and create civilian opportunities for them.
The award is based on a survey containing questions about the institution's programs, offerings and policies that help determine the environment provided for the veterans. This year, MU exceeds the standards in all the areas assessed, including:
- Academic Policies and Compliance
- Admissions and Orientation
- Culture and Commitment
- Financial Aid and Assistance
- Graduation and Career
- Military Student Support and Retention
While Veteran’s Day may be behind us on the calendar, let’s continue to show our gratitude and support to all veterans in our community throughout the year. Thank you to our student, faculty, staff and alumni veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service to our nation.
Millersville University now has a Land Acknowledgment statement
November is Native American Heritage Month, and Millersville University released a Land Acknowledgment statement earlier this fall.
A Land Acknowledgment is a statement that recognizes the indigenous people who lived on or near land currently owned by an institution. These statements are then shared in various ways, whether spoken aloud before events, embedded on a plaque or added to an institution's website.
"It is particularly important for Millersville University to create a Land Acknowledgment which is about respecting and recognizing indigenous peoples and their relationships to land," explains Dr. Marlene Arnold, professor of anthropology at the University.
Dr. Arnold and Dr. Tanya Kevorkian, professor of history at MU, have researched the history of the area surrounding what is now Millersville University to ensure the land acknowledgment includes all people who resided here in the past to the best of our historical knowledge, based on history and archaeology.
"Along with recognizing people who have been dispossessed, land acknowledgments can recognize local groups whose life cycle predates colonization, including the Shenks Ferry people (from about 1250-1575) and the Susquehannocks (from about 1575-1680)," adds Kevorkian.
With help from the research conducted by Arnold and Kevorkian, the University's statement does recognize these pre-colonization groups, who lived in the area before William Penn arrived in what is now known as Pennsylvania.
Recognizing the people of the lower Susquehanna River Basin, the statement specifically acknowledges the Shenks Ferry culture, the Susquehannock and the Conestoga. Other major groups who lived or were moved through the area include the Shawnee and Lenape groups.
"The Susquehannocks were settled in our county by 1575," says Arnold. "They later were displaced and moved to other areas, where they merged with other Native groups. Then, they came back to a settlement in Lancaster County at which time they were called the Conestoga."
Arnold adds it is important to note that most Native cultures called themselves something other than the names European colonists gave them and we know them as now.
"Most Native groups called themselves, in their own language, a word that translated as 'the people.' Many are known today by names given to them by others," she explains. "Some have changed those labels applied to them by outsiders and taken back their original name." She adds, "of course archaeologists, not knowing what people in prehistoric societies called themselves, have also given various names to Native American groups."
"Our knowledge is based on archaeology and history, neither of which is infallible nor can ever know the full reality of times past," she continues. "And for that reason, one of the phrases in our acknowledgment notes that we are recognizing the Native peoples of the lower Susquehanna River basin—those known and those unknown to us. Native Americans lived here—hunting, gathering, growing food, and moving all through the region that today we call Lancaster County."
The Land Acknowledgement Statement was released at an unveiling on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
The planning committee for the statement and the event included Drs. Arnold and Kevorkian, along with Dr. Karen Rice and Carlos Wiley, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the University. The committee also included MaryAnn Robins, President of the Circle Legacy Center in Lancaster and A'lice Myers Hall, President of the American Indian Society of Washington, D.C. Hall was the keynote speaker at the event.
Apple Pilot Project
The Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence, under the direction of the Provost, is supporting faculty through the Apple Pilot Project. Currently, seven Apple Educator-certified faculty are focused on developing pedagogical and classroom skills to support the use of iPad classrooms beginning in the Spring 2023 semester. This pilot is an important first step toward the use of iPads in the classroom, and technology-enhanced face-to-face classes. In Spring 2023, nine sections will teach with student access to iPads in the classroom, and two McNairy Librarians will work with student iPads during Library Instruction sessions.
Apple Pilot Project Participants
- Dr. Daniel Albert, Associate Professor, Chemistry
- Professor Kim Auger, Assistant Professor, McNairy Library
- Dr. Nitu Bagchi, Professor, Government, Policy, & Law
- Dr. Aileen Hower, Associate Professor, Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education
- Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel, Associate Professor, English & World Languages
- Professor Michele Santamaria, Assistant Professor, McNairy Library
- Dr. Michael Wismer, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Details on December 2022 Graduation
Millersville University will hold its first in-person December graduation ceremony since 2019 on December 11 at 2 p.m. in the Pucillo Gymnasium. For the first time in our history, the ceremony will include master’s and Ph.D. students. I am pleased to announce that the keynote speaker will be our own alum of the class of 1982, Mr. Brent Frey.
Frey is the former director of Worldwide Education Leadership and Learning at Apple Inc. His key areas of focus are school transformation and technology integration into the curriculum in both K12 and higher education. Prior to joining Apple in June 2001, Frey served as director of technology for eight years in the West Shore School District.
Doors will open one hour before the ceremony for graduates and guests. It is anticipated that graduates will be allotted four guest tickets. For those who will not be able to be in Pucillo Gym in person, an on-campus viewing site of the live stream of the ceremony will be available at the Winter Center for Visual and Performing Arts at 60 W. Cottage Ave., and no tickets are necessary to view the live stream.
If you have family and friends who will be watching the live stream from home, links to the live streaming will be accessible approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony and will be listed on the MU Commencement Page.
Please note that to be more sustainable, printed programs will not be handed out for the ceremony.
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